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The Ephrata Commune

An Early American Counterculture

E.G. Alderfer


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Tells of the founding and subsequent history of Ephrata, a mystical religious community that flourished in eastern Pennsylvania in the mid-eighteenth century. Its leader, Conrad Beissel, a German Pietist who came to America in 1720 seeking spiritual peace and solitude. Settled in Lancaster County, his talents and charisma attracted other German settlers who shared his vision of a community built in the image of apostolic Christianity.

Praise For The Ephrata Commune: An Early American Counterculture

“Alderfer's story of Ephrata is essentially the biography of Conrad Beissel. . . . This small volume gives a vivid picture of the founding, development, economy, calligraphy, printing, music, theology, inner tensions, and self destruction of this holy experiment.”
—Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

University of Pittsburgh Press, 9780822958017, 288pp.

Publication Date: October 28, 1985